I was just taking a look at our website and was inspired to write about the many applications for voice overs. It’s not hard to think of ways to use voice over once you start to brainstorm a bit (well, this is off the cuff for me!). While you’re reading, check to see how many of these voice over goodies you are using.

Broadcast Voice-Overs
One of the most integrated and comfortable avenues for voice-overs to engage us is in the broadcast medium. Whether it’s a DJ preparing us for the next uninterrupted set of music or a cartoon character’s voice bellowing on a Saturday morning, broadcast voice-overs have definitely asserted their position and power where popular voice-over domination is concerned. It almost goes without saying, but these voice-overs are nearly always recorded by professional voice talent and voice actors. Broadcast includes commercials, imaging and station identification, promos, advisories, news anchors, DJs, character voices, narration, telephone, and more.

Podcast Voice-Overs
Another area that is developing quickly is the podcasting medium. Close to broadcasting, podcasting is a relatively inexpensive and widely accessible medium that can build communities of like minded people and can also be produced by anyone with a microphone and recording software. Although podcasts are for the most part dominated by amateurs and aficionados, the corporate world is taking hold of podcasting and have set a new precedent for others in their path: the professionally produced podcast. These podcasts use real voice talent and include solid production elements such as music, sound effects, and  imaging.

Narration Voice-Overs
Narration is one of the most under-rated and useful voice-over tools. The diversity of the narration field is exceptional! You could hire a narrator to record a media documentary, broadcast segments and shows, audio books, business presentations including Powerpoint and sales videos, training videos, narrations for kiosks, eLearning modules, Internet applications, audio tutorials, film voice-overs… you name it. If it needs a narrator, it needs voice-over narration.

Telephone Voice-Overs
The list of telephone voice-over applications is nearly endless. If we start from the beginning, usually an auto attendant is the first voice (and representative of the company) that the customer will come into contact with. Talk about making a first good impression! After the auto attendant, we meet the Interactive Voice Response, or the IVR for short.

The IVR often provides the ‘next steps’ for a caller, whether it be connecting directly with someone at the company or pressing a button for further options. Transferring… Oh, what’s this? The customer is not left in silence, but has an audio companion for the duration of their time spent on hold, promoting products, services, or sharing courtesy messages. Finally, if the caller does not successfully get through to a live person, they are directed to a voicemail system and can leave a message for the company or party that they were trying to reach.

On another note, there are also voice broadcasts delivered by telephone. These can include promotional, service notifications, greetings, and confirmation messages from companies. Don’t forget the voices that are in your own voicemail system that give you options to check your mail, save, delete, or record your telephone greeting. This is one of the biggest markets for voice-overs because everyone has a phone and a need to serve their customers in this way.

Talking Toys, Video, and Computer Games
Enter character voices. This is where the voice actor truly shines and is given a plethora of challenges including voicing multiple diverse characters, bending the limits of their voice, and digging deep to create unique and authentic voices that will resonate with their audiences on a large scale. Did you know that there are actually adult voice talent that specialize in crying like a 3 week old baby? From interactive DVD board games to learning aids for kids, the voice actor reigns supreme when it comes to character voice-overs.

These voice-overs are also some of the most memorable. Think back to your favorite cartoon or animated character in a commercial. Who can forget the jovial “Ho Ho Ho” of the Green Giant or the famous talents of Yogi the Bear? This is also one of the most competitive fields of voice-over because of the caliber of talent performing and the prestige of the characters that they portray.

How many of these can you fit into your pic-a-nic basket? If you’re a voice talent and haven’t tried out some of the voice-over applications in this blog post, you may be on to something new and exciting to add to your career. If you are a business and have considered branding your company with voice-over to round out your marketing strategy, I hope you’ve found some great ideas here.
Best wishes,

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


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